Duke Reunions 2017 Stories as they unfold from one epic weekend in the Gothic Wonderland, April 7-9. #DukeReunions #ForeverDuke #ForeverFriends

Nearly 4,000 Duke alumni, like Bronwen Greer Pamela Smith '02, are flying in from all over the country to attend Duke Reunions Weekend. We're telling their stories here! Make sure we see your experience by tagging @DukeAlumni on social.

As Friday went on, alumni met up in registration headquarters and across campus.

The Duke Alumni Association took the "DAA Swag Wagon" for a spin with Amile Jefferson '16 and Megan Yung '17 -- picking up alumni and asking them fun Duke trivia. But first, Jefferson had to test his own Duke knowledge. Get a glimpse. WATCH:

Alumni also were invited to take a break from the festivities to write a quick note of advice to the Class of 2017 as both a symbolic and an actual gesture of welcoming graduating seniors into the Duke alumni family. The Duke Alumni Association will distribute the notes of advice and encouragement to graduating seniors at a special celebration on May 12.

"Life is a journey," wrote Alan Sherwood '72. "When you see a fork in the road, take it!"

Later in the evening on Friday, April 7, Cameron Indoor was transformed into a dance club and Wilson Gym into a jazz lounge.

On Saturday, April 8, alumni were spread out across Duke's campus -- meeting up with old and new friends and exploring the many new additions to the Gothic Wonderland.

It was "open house" across campus, with dozens of interactive, educational and social events for alumni and their families -- including a Duke Pow Wow sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Native American Student Alliance, a "Science Spectacular" put on by the departments of physics and chemistry, and an alumni reception at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

Teni Brown '07, Ralph and Je-Anne Berry '07 and Arway Boker '07 returned to Duke for their 10-year reunion. Spread out across the country -- from Atlanta to Chicago to Montclair, N.J. -- these friends were glad to see each other this weekend, and to share with their little Blue Devils the power of Duke friendship. This was the first time that their children had spent significant time together.

"Just friends becoming family," Arway Boker '07 said.

Four winners of the annual #MyDukeMoment contest met up with Duke Photo on Saturday afternoon to recreate photos of their favorite Duke memories -- like this group of alumnae from the Class of 1997. Get a behind-the-scenes peek at one of the shoots. WATCH:

Alumni also explored downtown Durham -- visiting new restaurants and shops and stopping by some of their favorite old haunts, like Cosmic Cantina on Ninth Street. That's where you'll find Neil Puri '02 and his girlfriend Natalie Hawkins. "I came just for the memories," he said on a lunch stop April 8 at the popular Mexican eatery known by regulars as only "Cosmic." This was Puri's first time back to Durham and Duke since he graduated in 2002, and he said he wasn't going to let the weekend go by without stopping by his old hangout. For old time's sake, he ordered his go-to meal -- the Garden Burrito -- a burrito complete with black beans, cheese, lettuce, sour cream and pico de gallo. "It's the only thing he wanted," Hawkins said.

Glimpses from other old haunts...

Risa Isard '12 was making new friends everywhere she went. First, on her car drive from Washington, D.C., to Durham, she spotted a Duke blue sedan with a familiar saying on its license plate. It read "GTHC." "Must be en route to reunion!" she tweeted. Little did she know that down the road she would befriend the car's passengers and find out they were, indeed, Duke alumni on their way to Reunions Weekend when they both happened to stop for lunch at the same place. A new friendship was formed.

Later in the day, Isard was spotted on the Bryan Center Plaza making new friends again. This time, she was playing a piano stationed by Duke arts students who wanted to encourage alumni and students to share music during Reunions Weekend with her new friend Isabel, the granddaughter of Dewey Williams MDiv'11, who was visiting campus on April 8 for lunch with her mother and two sisters.

Nathaniel "Nat" B. White, Jr., ‘67 and Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke '67 -- two of Duke's first five African American undergraduate students to integrate the university in 1963 were back on campus for their 50th class reunion. "I've made great friends here, lifelong friends," Reuben-Cooke said on Saturday evening ahead of being inducted into the Half Century Club along with White in Penn Pavilion. "I think we all come in with a purpose and a calling," Reuben-Cooke said of her role integrating Duke nearly 54 years ago. She said at the time she believed Duke could be a leader in championing civil rights, as she continues to feel today.

"I have obligations, as do all of us, to do what we can, wherever we can to help make things better." --Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke '67

As Saturday night continued, alumni met up with their classmates at class-specific parties across campus and downtown Durham.

As the wee hours of Sunday morning approached, alumni knew their brief time in the Gothic Wonderland would soon come to a close -- but not before one last stop, a brunch complete with champagne in beautiful Duke Gardens on Sunday, April 9.

With the close of the brunch, Duke Reunions Weekend came to an end -- but not without old friendships reunited, new ones formed and the promise of coming back home again very soon.

Thank you to all our Blue Devils for coming home to Duke! We are #ForeverDuke.

Created By
Christina Holder


Christina Holder, Janice Kalin, Sarah Haas and Michael Penn

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